“We congratulate Judge Edwards for his heroic behavior and leadership in the St. Louis community,” said Lewis Chartock, Ph.D., President and CEO of MERS/Goodwill. “His example is one that many strive to learn from. He is the driving force behind our Innovative Concept Academy, and this recognition is well-deserved. I encourage everyone in our community to ‘Donate Your Vote’ for Judge Edwards as he is a real local hero.”
Should Judge Edwards be selected as the winner of People’s “Reader’s Choice Hero,” his $10,000 prize will support an Arts and Drama Program at the Innovative Concept Academy.
In 2009, after watching a string of teen offenders come through his courtroom, Judge Edwards took action. Together with Dr. Chartock and St. Louis Public Schools’ Dr. Kelvin Adams, he took over an abandoned school and opened the Innovative Concept Academy. Providing strict discipline, counseling and programs like chess, music and creative writing, and mandatory after-school activities, the center has changed the lives of many young people, giving them the opportunity to graduate from high school and lead successful lives.
MERS/Goodwill is a non-profit agency that provides for the vocational needs of individuals who have barriers to employment through disability or economic disadvantage. Annually serving more than 23,000 individuals, the organization operates in 61 locations throughout the bi-state area. Revenues from 40 Goodwill stores assist with funding MERS/Goodwill’